Masterpiece Showcase: Part 2 – 1984 Decepticon Cassettes

Masterpiece Showcase: Part 2 – 1984 Decepticon Cassettes

One thing that I was never able to do the first time around was to “collect them all” and gather all of the figures shown in the catalogs. With the Masterpiece line however, I’m finally able to work towards that goal with modern updates of the original figures.

The evil Decepticons fool you as cassettes, but they transform to either a jaguar, condor or robots! - 19) Rumble/Ravage 20) Frenzy/Laserbeak - Decepticon Cassettes
Soundwave’s minions!

Like Soundwave, the original cassettes were from MicroChange and transformed into a 1:1 scale micro-cassettes. Sadly, I don’t think we’ll ever get a modern set of alt modes that work as well as these. The Titans Return tablets worked on a technical level but didn’t really look like real-world tablets and there was no explanation as to why you would be inserting them into something else. I suppose, to make it more relatable, you could make Soundwave into a car carrier and his minions cars but you loose that special relationship. To keep the relationship, you could make Soundwave into a Drobo enclosure and the cassettes into hard drives but it’s not very relatable to most people.

All of the 1984 Decepticons cassettes came out in 2013 shortly after Soundwave so this is another easy to complete step of my Masterpiece collection completion plan.

1984 Cassettes

19) Rumble and Ravage

Rumble and Ravage

MP-13 Rumble

Rumble (yes, he’s red) came in a two-pack with Ravage.

Rumble robot mode
Rumble cassette mode

The most poseable of the Masterpiece cassettes, the robots feature several ball joints.

Rumble poseability

To recreate his trademark special power, Rumble includes a set of pile drivers that mount on his arms.

Rumble with pile drivers

Both backpack rifles can be stored within the pile drivers when not in use.

Rumble weapon storage

There’s also an accessory that allows you to mount the pile drivers to the robot’s back, but mine is packed away somewhere.

MP-13 Jaguar

Ravage (Jaguar in Japan), like the condors, features a fully integrated transformation where the missiles fold into the cassette mode.

Jaguar
Can’t loose these missiles!
Jaguar cassette mode

Another feature of the new design is that head splits and includes a flip-out nose which is very easy to miss during transformation.

Ravage nose

20) Frenzy and Laserbeak

Frenzy and Laserbeak

MP-16 Frenzy

For some inexplicable reason, Frenzy comes with blue versions of Rumble’s pile drivers, mine never left the box.

Frenzy robot mode
Frenzy cassette mode

MP-13 Condor

Too famous to wait, Laserbeak (Condor in Japan) was released along with Soundwave.

Laserbeak condor mode
Laserbeak cassette mode

_) Enemy

Not featured in the catalog, Enemy was part (literally, it was glued to the front!) of a Transformers AM radio available in 1984. The Masterpiece version was released as part of MP-15/16E.

Enemy Robot Mode
Rumble is red and so am I!
Enemy Cassette Mode

Additional Reading

Third-Party Alternatives

As mentioned in part 1, Ocular Max has a series of larger cassettes for any of you who feel that these are too small and don’t mind that they don’t fit inside Soundwave.


Read the Entire Series

Masterpiece Collection Showcase

Masterpiece Showcase: Part 1 – 1984 Decepticon Communicator

Masterpiece Showcase: Part 1 – 1984 Decepticon Communicator

One thing that I was never able to do the first time around was to “collect them all” and gather all of the figures shown in the catalogs. With the Masterpiece line however, I’m finally able to work towards that goal with modern updates of the original figures.

Soundwave, disguised as a cassette recorder, locates and identifies Autobots, then informs other Decepticons of their whereabouts. His cassette changes to a golden condor! - 24) Soundwave/Buzzsaw - Decepticon Communicator
So cool in 1984, so unidentifiable to anyone under 30.

The original Soundwave toy was borrowed from MicroChange where tiny robots transformed into common household objects. In this case, “Cassette Man” transformed into a 1:1 scale micro-cassette recorder. Micro-cassettes were not very common in the US so it was usually presumed that he was supposed to be a full size audio cassette player.

Admittedly, the “Decepticon Communicator” category is pretty easy to complete since it consists of only two figures:

Soundwave and Buzzsaw catalog view

24) Soundwave and Buzzsaw

Unlike the original, Masterpiece Soundwave came with Condor (aka Laserbeak) while Buzzsaw was released in a two-pack with Frenzy.

MP-13 Soundwave

Despite being released in 2013, Soundwave is still an impressive figure even though it is not as pose-able as the MP-36-style Masterpiece designs.

Soundwave robot mode

The Masterpiece version is compatible with most cassettes from 1984 as well as the Masterpiece versions. In fact, he can now hold three cassette minions, besting the previous record holder, G1 SoundBlaster, which was a Japan-exclusive remold of Soundwave for 1987 that held two cassettes.

Soundwave with Ratbat in his deck
Still rocking the micro-cassette scale!
Soundwave tape deck mode

Similar to how the G1 toy could store his weapons in his “battery compartment”, Masterpiece Soundwave’s weapons store in the back of the tape deck mode.

Soundwave tape deck mode back view

MP-16 Buzzsaw

The best part about this mold is that it features a fully integrated transformation where the booster packs fold into the cassette mode.

Buzzsaw condor mode
Can’t loose these accessories!
Buzzsaw cassette mode

As a Masterpiece, Buzzsaw is much more pose-able than the original.

Buzzsaw sitting up
Now featuring “sitting up” action!
Soundwave launching Buzzsaw
Buzzsaw eject!

Third Party Alternative

Ocular Max has released a larger version of Buzzsaw called Buzzard scaled so that the alt mode is the size of a normal cassette rather than a micro-cassette. However, since for me a lot of the fun is the interaction, I haven’t really paid much attention to it.


Read the Entire Series

Masterpiece Collection Showcase

BadCube OTS-9 Grump

BadCube just reissued their version of Masterpiece Gears – the final BadCube mini-bot that I need for my 1984 Autobots!

The Box

Grump box

The traditional BadCube box comes in red and blue to mirror the figure inside. When I first saw these boxes I thought they were plain, but I have to admit that they’ve grown on me.

Grump box contents

Inside the box you get a trading card, instructions, pistol and TOE* personality card and welder.

Grump personality card

The personality card is detailed to look like a VHS tape.

Grump with personality card

The card fits very tightly into the chest, I had to use a small pair of pliers to get it back out.

The Figure

Grump robot mode

Grump has a lot of personality and looks like he just stepped out of the cartoon.

Grump smiling
Happy to help Megatron, good buddy!

Grump’s head contains both faces. The whole face folds up and everything below the eyebrow spins.

The Truck

Grump vehicle mode

Just like Slick, locking Grump’s chest piece in place for vehicle mode is challenging but, due to the quarter panels being attached to the hood, not quite as difficult.

The Mold Mate

Grump with Slick
(Autobot symbol sold separately)

Although I usually don’t display Slick with his wheels out, it does help differentiate the two versions.

Grump with Slick vehicle mode
(Autobot symbol sold separately)

Not much difference in vehicle mode besides the colors, as it should be.

The Masterpiece

Grump with Bumblebee

Beside Bumblebee, Grump’s vehicle mode doesn’t look nearly as realistic.

Grump with Bumblebee vehicle mode

The Conclusion

Grump with MP mini-bots
(Autobot symbols sold separately)

I was pretty happy with Slick and am just as happy with Grump. He looks great with the rest of the mini-bots. Now I just need my X-Transbots Boost to arrive to complete the set!


* That One Episode” – the obligatory accessory that the character used once in the cartoon.

Transform and Rollout TR-01 Agent Meister

Transform and Rollout’s first release, TR-01 Agent Meister (aka Masterpiece Jazz and the robot formerly known as Hova) has arrived at JunkionHQ!

Agent Meister box

Inside the box you’ll find Jazz’s signature rifle, two speakers, his TOE* winch, instructions and a trading card.

Agent Meister box contents

The Robot

The robot looks great however, the transformation has a couple of rough points. The worst is how the shoulders have to be twisted into place to lock into two indents on the underside of the hood which feels very awkward. So awkward in fact that I haven’t tried the alternate toy-accurate mode (where the wheels sit above the shoulders) for fear of over stressing them. Also, the wheel wells on his calves don’t lock into place and can shift during posing, as they have in the following photo.

Agent Meister robot mode

The cone speakers post into the back of each shoulder and the hip flaps fold out to reveal a second set of speakers.

Agent Meister with speakers
Ready to rock and roll!
Agent Meister grappling hook
Grappling hook deployed!

The Porsche

Agent Meister vehice mode

One of the things I really liked about this version of Jazz is the vehicle mode, which is spot on with all of the original livery.

Agent Meister vehice mode

One of the best parts of the vehicle mode is the back end which is problematic on both ToyWorld’s Coolsville (which has a big black bulge under the rear bumper) and Make Toys Downbeat (which has a weird dropped rear bumper).

Agent Meister vehice mode back end

A True Masterpiece

Agent Meister vehicle mode with Sideswipe

Meister really fits in well with Masterpiece Sideswipe!

Agent Meister with Sideswipe

The Conclusion

Quite a promising start for Transform and Rollout. I love the look of the figure in both modes and am happy to have this as my official Masterpiece Jazz!

My biggest gripe is that the ankle tilt is so slight that it makes dynamic poses difficult. Oddly enough, this kind of works too since it puts him in the same possibility class as Sideswipe.

Agent Meister with rifle

I have heard some people complain about having the entire car hood sticking out of his chest. For me, it reminds me of the original figure so, instead of a flaw, I see it as a nostalgic nod to G1. Take a look and judge for yourself:

Agent Meister chest side view

* That One Episode” – the obligatory accessory that the character used once in the cartoon.

52Toys BeastBOX Dio BB-01 B.B.P.D.

I’ve been curious about this series from 52toys for a while now and finally decided to add it to an order and try it out.

DIO B.B.P.D box

Although this is the police themed version of Dio, the packaging still shows the original yellow paint job.

DIO B.B.P.D box contents

In the box you’ll find the figure, in cube mode, an Internal Structure display (which you can see through the window on the box) and a catalog of other releases in the line.

DIO B.B.P.D instructions

The, very simple, instructions are printed on the back of the box along with a teaser showing three of the other figures in the series.

The Dinosaur

DIO B.B.P.D

Dino mode is nicely designed and fun. The neck is double jointed and ends In a ball joint and the head mounted on that joint features a jaw that opens quite wide.

DIO B.B.P.D crouched
“Roar”

Although the toes and heels are articulated in a way that could allow for dynamic poses, the hips and knees get in the way.

DIO B.B.P.D posed

The Cube (aka “Mech-Box”)

DIO B.B.P.D cube mode
Fits easily on a pallet.

The “Mech-Box” is understandably busy with a large gap underneath. Really more of a “ready to ship” mode than an alternate mode.

The Rest of the Line

As mentioned above, there is a pack-in catalog showing off the entire line.

BeastBOX catalog front

As you can see above, since Dio comes in eleven different versions, the front of the catalog is dominated by this single mold. The only other figure on this side is BB-02, Ghostdog, which is the same figure with a new head.

BeastBOX catalog back

The back of the catalog is where things get more interesting:

  • BB-03, Jojo, a gorilla that comes in four styles
  • BB-04, Moma (aka Elephinx), a mammoth that comes in five different styles
  • BB-05, Delta (aka Vanguard), a triceratops that comes in four styles.
  • MB-01 – an officially licensed Alien figure complete with face hugger!

Not featured in this catalog are:

  • BB-06, Rhyden, a clockwork rhinoceros
  • BB-07, Bohemoth, a hippopotamus
  • BB-08 IceQube which splits into four penguins
  • And a variety of repaints including camouflaged jungle versions

The Conclusion

Overall, I really like this figure and am thinking about getting more from the series.

Here he is with Siege Sideswipe and Masterpiece Prowl for a sense of scale.

DIO B.B.P.D with Siege Sideswipe
DIO B.B.P.D with Masterpiece Prowl
Deploying with the Highway Patrol!
New Age H1G Gremlin

New Age H1G Gremlin

New Age‘s Gremlin “gold” repaint of their Flipper mini-bot has arrived at Junkion HQ.

Gremlin in box

In the box is an extremely tiny pistol, jet pack and instructions sheet.

Gremlin box contents

Like the original G1 Goldbug, Gremlin is more of a mustard yellow than a gold.

The VW Bug

The only drawback with the vehicle mode is that it lacks rolling wheels.

Gremlin vehicle mode

The Robot

This is a super fun little figure!

Gremlin robot mode

It’s very poseable for its size and has a great intuitive transformation.

Gremlin with pistol

Unlike Flipper, Gremlin includes the jet pack from Dinobot Island.

Gremlin jet pack

The Comparisons

This is not my first New Age mini-bot: I picked up Flipper a while back but never got the chance to review it. This where the clever transformation really shines. Because of how the rear window transforms it allows Gremlin to have a Throttlebot-style hood and hides that kibble for Flipper.

Gremlin with Flipper robot mode
(Autobot symbol sold separately)

Flipper has one big flaw in vehicle mode compared to Gremlin, his black shoulders stand out awkwardly just under the side windows.

Gremlin with Flipper vehicle mode
(Autobot symbol sold separately)

Not having one of his own, Flipper has to borrow Gremlin’s jet pack to recreate TOE*.

Flipper with jet pack
(Autobot symbol sold separately))

360 Degree Turnaround


* That One Episode” – the obligatory accessory that the character used once in the cartoon.



Read about the rest of the Legendary Heroes

Mech Fans Toys MF-26 Sharktticons

Due to a recent eBay sale I added Mech Fans Toys Sharktticons (the extra “t” is for intellectual property rights!) to my collection.

The Box

The box features a movie-inspired scene of the Sharktticons attacking Hot Rod.

Sharktticons box

Inside the box are three Sharktticons, their maces, antennae (including spares!) and newly-designed pistols.

Sharktticons box contentsNote: The antennae do not come installed, I installed mine before taking this photo so the ones you can see here are the spares

The Regular Edition

A much darker version of the Legends Sharkticon, with the paint apps on the head removed and the beast hands painted blue like Titans Return Gnaw. In addition to the antennae, the robot fists have been modified so that they can be rotated or removed.

Robot Mode

The antennae are extremely thin and, in robot mode, point down. I’m actually worried about leaving them in robot mode for fear that they’ll wobble and snap one off.

Sharktticons robot mode

Beast Mode

Here is where those antennae really shine!

Sharktticons beast mode side view

The Special Edition

The third shark in the box is a version with clear pink parts and a slightly different paint application.

Robot Mode

I’m not crazy about this version, but I do like that they put a little extra effort into it with the new paint scheme on both the figure and weapons.

Sharktticons robot mode se

Beast Mode

The antennae are clear pink to match the arms, fin and jaw.

Sharktticons beast mode se side view

Quality Control Issues

Sadly, the left arm on mine came off during the first transformation. Also, the left side of the beast head was loose out of the box and eventually came off of the rivet.

Sharktticons se issues

Comparing the Editions

As mentioned above, it’s not just clear plastic, but a reworked paint job that makes this version stand out.

Robot Mode

Standing next to the regular version you can see that the special edition is very pink in robot mode.

Sharktticons se comparison

Sharktticons se side view comparison

Beast Mode

The beast mode is not quite as pink since those parts are mostly on the underside.

Sharktticons se beast mode comparison

Sharktticons se beast mode side view comparison

The Comparisons

These are 1 to 1 knockoffs of the original.

Robot Mode

Legends on the left, Sharktticon in the middle and Titans Return on the right.

Sharktticons comparison

Sharktticons comparison side view

Beast Mode

Sharktticons comparison beast mode

Sharktticons comparison beast mode side

The Conclusion

Sharktticons antennae

The first thing to remember is that these are not toys, the antennae alone would fail any safety inspection. That said, they do make nice display pieces.

Sharktticons beast mode

Here’s a shot with the rest of my Sharkticon swarm.

Sharkticon swarm

Prime Wars Trilogy Blast Off with Megatronus

Prime Wars Trilogy Blast Off with Megatronus

The first of the Prime Wars Trilogy Exclusives has arrived at JunkionHQ and wow, is it a great start!

Blast Off box back

The Figure

The figure is a very good update of the G1 figure and includes the  chest details from the original.

Blast Off

The Shuttle

Transformation is always a bit worrisome for me with this mold, the shuttle nose always feels on the verge of breaking off. In fact, I often find myself removing it for transformation just to calm my nerves.

Blast Off shuttle mode

The Comparisons

Blast Off is my second favorite Combaticon just edged out by Brawl.

G1

Here he is with a gold-box reissue of the original figure. The colors are spot on even down to the faux windows on the forearms.

Blast Off with G1

Unlike the G1 toy, the shuttle mode is more of an “inspired by” space shuttle.

Blast Off vehicle mode with G1

Unite Warriors

This is the second release of this mold, the first being part of the Unite Warriors Bruticus box set. While TakaraTomy chose to make the top of the shuttle the chest, Hasbro literally gone the other way.

Blast Off with Unite Warriors

The new release is an olive green like the original toy where UW is mostly a light brown. The biggest issue with the shuttle mode is the fact that, since the arms have been swapped, the hollow parts end up on very visible.

Blast Off vehicle mode with Unite Warriors

The combiner hand is a dark grey rather than the silver on the UW version and the fingers are slightly lighter grey. The pistol is glossy black instead of a matte dark grey.

Combiner parts comparison

Megatronus

Megatronus, for me, was initially just a useless add-on. However, in hand, I find that I really like version of the Prime Master.

Special Edition Megatronus

The special-edition Megatronus switches the light grey plastic with clear red and the dark grey with black. The outside of the arms have been painted grey leaving the fists in red which is a really nice look. The thighs have also been painted grey. The head is painted grey as well with a black face and unpainted eyes that allow for light-piping!

Megatronus light piping

Prime Masters

Megatronus comparison

While the original release had a very Megatron color scheme, I like that the special edition stands on it’s own.

Megatronus comparison robot mode

The Conclusion

This version of Blast Off will take his place on display in place of his Unite Warriors equivalent.

Bruticus

Wild Kidz Iron Deck

I picked up a few of Wild Kidz’s new Iron Deck background sets to try out.

The Contents

The Iron Deck set comes in a fancy anti-static bag.

Iron Deck bag

Inside the bag are ten panels, eighteen panel connectors, two arm bases, four arm segments, two claw bases, two inner claws and two outer claws.

Iron Deck parts

The Panels

The panels are two sided, one with 5mm holes and one without. The hinges are uni-directional so you have the option of showing either side.

Iron Deck panel with ports

Iron Deck panel

The connectors are also uni-directional and two sided with a circular mold mark on one side.

The Constructions

The hinge connectors give you a lot of options but do also function as hinges so you will need side walls of some kind if you want to use these to build a display background.

Iron Deck grey background

You can also use the kit to build crates or lifts for your display. This is where they really add something new

Iron Deck platform

The Conclusion

Make sure to assemble your display in place, the panel connectors do not provide enough structural stability to survive a move. I ended up having to build my new corner display twice because it fell apart when I tried to slide it into place. The display below is constructed with three sets of the Iron Deck panels.

Iron Deck corner shelf empty

BG-B Base Background

X2 Toys’ purple Decepticon-themed background has finally arrived!

2018 MP Decepticon Shelf

I’ve finally been able to put together the Masterpiece Decepticon shelf that I planned way back when the Autobot version arrived.

It also allows me to finally build the photo background concept that originally inspired the name for this blog.

JunkionHQ original photo background

So, this is the last time that you’ll see the original all-orange background. The next photo session will have a much more Junkion-style “whatever is available” look.